Finally, I’m Ultra Boy

I am now officially an utramarathoning nutjob.

I finished my first ultra today on a muddy, hilly hiking trail, the Buckeye Trail 50K, a goal that has haunted me for five years.

My time was six hours, 52 minutes and 15 seconds.

I won’t say I conquered the trail. That’s too strong a word. The trail let me survive. That’s about all most ultra runners can hope for.

I finished on my feet, in one piece, more or less — even though I took three vicious falls into the mud during the first half, and have the grimy shirt to prove it.

The weather was nearly perfect: temps in the mid-60s. But we had some rain, including a couple of steady downpours, that turned the northern, hilly section of the trail into a mess, with nearly no footing.

Despite that, I had fun. I ran at a respectable pace up until the last six miles, when I hit the wall and downgraded into a mix of slow trotting and power hiking. This was the toughest part of the course, killer hill after killer hill, many of them too muddy to run or even walk.

I ran with with Kevin, an old Ohio running friend. Kevin was a true friend and trail buddy today, encouraging me when my legs started to conk out. Thanks, guy. He knows what tough running is all about. He qualified for Boston two months ago, and didn’t let his tired legs slow him down.

Kevin and I crossed the finish line together. I didn’t have a stated goal for a finish time, but I was secretly hoping to beat seven hours. So I accomplished my mission.

It was a long day in the woods, no doubt. But I came home with a finisher’s medal, a BT50K bumper sticker, a tech T-shirt and feeling of accomplishment.

I’m too sore and stiff to think about my next ultra — or if there will be one.

In the morning, I head to the Delware beach with my family for a week of surf and hopefully sun.

I’ll post a full report of the race and a photo or two when I return.

(For a full race report on the BT50K, written in tormented verse, click here.)

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3 Responses to “Finally, I’m Ultra Boy”

  1. Congrats! Would like to do an Ultra some day…sounds like a real “life check list” item.

  2. I just found your report on BT50k and really enjoyed reading it as well as your poem. Both well written. I am a ultra newbie myself and getting ready to take on BT50k as my first. I can’t wait to run it and reading your post is getting me excited.

    • Kirstie: How are you doing these days? Are you still recovering from the car accident? Doing any running? Hope life is OK. — Trail Boy

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